The Woman in White is a spooky story, so it needs a spooky setting. The narrative demands a moonlit walk on wild Hampstead Heath, a selection of imposingly grand Cumbrian houses, and an eerie graveyard.
So how did the team behind this BBC adaptation stay true to Wilkie Collins’ uncanny atmosphere and gothic mood? And where did they film those beautiful sweeping landscapes? Find out more about the filming locations below.
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Where was The Woman in White filmed?
Though the novel The Woman in White is set on London’s Hampstead Heath and in Cumbria’s fictional Limmeridge House, filming for the BBC drama actually took place in Northern Ireland – often around Belfast.
Producer Sarah Curtis tells RadioTimes.com: “The team behind The Woman in White travelled all over Northern Ireland in search of locations that would serve as the iconic settings for the mystery story, which as it unfolds, ranges from beautiful country houses to smoky London, from wide open beaches to the dangerous confines of an insane asylum.
“As always with period filming, the design is often pieced together, sometimes filming the outside and the inside of the house in totally different places. Designer Tom McCullagh and locations expert Andy Wilson were able to take us quickly to the best options and come up with imaginative suggestions for the many visual challenges of the series.”
Where was Limmeridge House filmed?
The home of Frederick Fairlie and his nieces Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe has been created using a combination of different period properties. One is close to the border with the Republic of Ireland; the other is way up north near the coast.
“Florence Court, an 18th century manor house in Fermanagh now owned by the National Trust, served as the outside, with its classic frontage set in acres of unspoilt and rolling parkland,” Curtis reveals.
“The interior of the house was filmed at the other end of the country in Dundarave House, where the interior rooms matched Florence Court perfectly but were all connected to each other allowing the actors and the camera to move easily from room to room.”
Where are the graveyard scenes filmed?
Quite appropriately, The Woman in White takes us to a misty and overgrown graveyard. Buried here is Laura and Marian’s mother Mrs Fairlie, but it is Anne Catherick who mourns at her grave.
These atmospheric scenes are filmed at the Old Maghera Church at the village of Dundrum in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Where was Blackwater Park filmed?
Sir Percival Glyde’s “sinister and dreary” home, Blackwater Park, is filmed at Narrow Water Castle near Warrenpoint.
Curtis explains: “Its heavily carved battlements and turreted roof were the perfect gothic backdrop for the unfolding of Sir Percival and Count Fosco’s devious plan.”
The castle has been in the same family for over 300 years and the interiors remain largely unchanged: look closely and you’ll spot hand-painted wallpaper and original stained glass.
Where was the insane asylum filmed?
The mental asylum was actually filmed at Belfast’s prestigious boys school, Campbell College.
“The original carved wooden canteen doubly perfectly as the refectory of the asylum and the red brick exterior convincing as a large and slightly forbidding Victorian institution,” Curtis says.
But they had to get the filming done quickly during the Easter holidays, before the 900 pupils arrived back for the summer term.
Where were the landscapes filmed?
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Much of the story takes place outside – with Northern Irish landscapes standing in for Cumbria.
“The countryside outside Belfast is beautiful, unmarred by development or electricity poles,” Curtis says.
“And its landscapes range from parklands and ancient forests to wide open beaches – everything that we needed to give the story the sweep and epic quality of the original novel.”
This article was originally published in April 2018